Is this the last we've seen - or heard - of Mike Myers? With Shrek Forever After, the franchise allegedly fades into the sunset, leaving both Myers and Eddie Murphy without the box office juggernaut to line their pockets. No one is crying, least of all me.
Shrek was a funny if uninspired movie. Shrek 2 was hilarious. Shrek the Third was terrible, however, leaving Shrek Forever After to clean up the mess. The movie is just that - a neat repackaging of old goods that attempts to avoid the mistakes of its predecessor. It does a good job of that but still lacks the witty charm of the originals.
In Shrek Forever After, the title character, frustrated by his married-with-children life, makes a deal with Rumpelstiltskin to trade lives for a day. Rumpelstiltskin tricks Shrek, however, casting the characters into a dark alternate timeline where nothing is as it should be.
The premise is clever, which allows the writers to take the characters back into their origins. Thankfully, the movie isn't as painfully unfunny as Shrek the Third, but neither Josh Klausner nor Darren Lemke seem to know how to write comedy. Shrek Forever After, while mildly entertaining, lacks everything that made the first two movies so good.
As much as people faulted the Shrek films for their pop culture references, those are what made them so popular. And funny. But Shrek Forever After doesn't capitalize on the tried and true formula, nor does it take advantage of its alternate universe premise; the movie brings back a lot of original settings, but doesn't utilize them in a clever or intelligent way.
Shrek Forever After is a big step up from its predecessor, but that's not saying much. A clear cash grab, Shrek is a fairy tale that does not live happily ever after.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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